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Slow brain waves play key role in coordinating complex activity

reas high-gamma waves within a region tie groups of cells together and time when their output can be sent or when input from another area can be received."

To test these hypotheses, Knight and his colleagues teamed up with UCSF doctors Nick Barbaro, neurosurgeon, professor of neurosurgery and director of surgical epilepsy; Mitchel Berger, neurosurgeon, professor and chair of neurosurgery and director of the Brain Tumor Research Center; and Heidi Kirsch, epileptologist, assistant professor in residence of neurology, to record brain activity in brain tumor and epilepsy patients scheduled for surgery to remove a portion of their brains. The epilepsy patients typically have brain activity measured up to a week beforehand so that surgeons can localize important areas they need to avoid, such as centers of language, vision or motor activity.

The goal of the UC Berkeley-UCSF Intracranial Project is to use high-gamma waves to produce a finer map of the brain to guide neurosurgeons during brain surgery and potentially to use these same high frequency oscillations to control robotic devices in paralyzed patients.

"This represents a paradigm shift in how we map brain function," said Berger. "As a neurosurgeon, I work within these very complicated cortical and subcortical areas where regions talk to each other, and there is a level of connectivity between cortical regions not apparent by any current means of detection.

"By measuring high-gamma band activity, we will be able to see in real time, during surgery, how cortical regions are connected through subcortical systems, allowing us to understand how these regions process information. This hold the key to understanding diseases like autism, which clearly involves the subcortical pathways."

In these clinical procedures, Barbaro removed a portion of each patient's skull and placed a grid of 64 electrodes on the surface of the brain's frontal and temporal lobes to precisely localize the so
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Source:University of California - Berkeley


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